Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace has evolved in the past two years, as many organizations embedded their DE&I efforts into organization-wide policies — from benefits and compensation to manager training and talent development. As these policies mature, organizations are also taking a more data-driven approach to determine how effective their efforts are and where they need to improve.
To better understand the current status of organizations' DE&I practices in approaching benefits, work environment and culture across different regions and industries, over the third quarter of 2022 Aon surveyed more than 1,200 rewards, benefits and DE&I leaders representing 55 countries.
Overall, DE&I is an area of very high interest for businesses:
of respondents say their companies have developed a tailored DE&I policy
have identified colleagues responsible for leading DE&I initiatives
of companies report strong senior leadership support and sponsorship for related initiatives
Most DE&I policies cover age, disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. However, mental health, parental status, veteran status and religion are not included as often in policies.
Our survey also finds that companies with higher reported levels of employee engagement are much more likely to have an internal definition of DE&I.
of companies with a high level of engagement have a clear DE&I definition
of companies with a low level of engagement have a clear DE&I definition
Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to Aon’s culture. It allows us to question traditional mindsets and create a better, more resilient workforce for colleagues and for our clients. I am not surprised to see a correlation in our latest research around engagement and improved DE&I policies because that’s what we experience at Aon.”
Companies with higher engagement are also more likely to have broader definitions of DE&I coverage.
of companies with a high level of engagement have a broadly defined DE&I plan, covering six or more of the categories that are commonly included in a DE&I definition.
of companies with low engagement have a broad definition of DE&I.
A common challenge for companies is having a restricted view of the concept of diversity, focusing only on gender diversity or diversity of cultural origin. While this is a practical strategy, broadening diversity analysis to consider other potential candidates and existing employee categories can benefit companies and the communities where they operate. Other workforce groups that should be considered include individuals with physical or mental disabilities and individuals with varying levels of education and experience.
Having a holistic strategy around health and benefits plays a key part in supporting DE&I. Inclusive benefits schemes can provide necessary support to a diverse employee population, improving the employee experience and meeting new expectations. While it remains a much-neglected area, gender sensitive health needs are gaining client interest across the globe. Examples of this include external assistance around menopause, awareness and assistance for osteoporosis, awareness of increased risks of certain cancers for men, and even prostate cancer screenings. Companies can greatly benefit from embracing these kinds of practices, which offer a more personalized approach to health with tailored advice for individuals’ specific needs.
Effective wellbeing initiatives will accommodate the unique requirements of different employees and recognize mental health and wellbeing as diversity issues. Across regions, there seems to be a large gap when it comes to mental healthcare services, with the exception of North America where mental health benefits are more common.
Percent of companies in Asia-Pacific and Latin America that provide access to a psychiatrist
Percent of companies in Asia-Pacific and Latin America that provide access to in-patient mental health coverage
Globally, 29 percent of employers have inconsistent benefit structures across their employee populations, often leading to bias in plan design. For instance, when an employer closes their pension plan, current employees continue to earn pension benefits, while new hires are covered by a program that is often less valuable. When talent acquisition strategies bring in more diverse candidates, those candidates go into the lower value program, creating an unintended outcome.
Leaders must refine and redefine fair practices and processes, rooting out bias and measuring real and meaningful change in this space. Start by developing a comprehensive communications approach for DE&I policies that ensures tone and engagement are appropriate to speak to a diverse workforce.
One of the initial steps on the journey to developing your DE&I strategy is to assess the current situation and ask questions. Do not view DE&I policies in isolation; make them an integral part of HR programs and processes. Consider the following questions when evaluating your health, benefits and overall rewards strategy in the broader context of your DE&I goals:
Download the full report to discover the key results from our 2022 Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey and see how your DE&I strategy compares.
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